Oshane Ximines proved to be a promising pass rusher in his rookie season, but will he ultimately step up for the New York Giants in year No. 2?
The success of the pass rush will be crucial for the New York Giants in 2020. This specific unit has struggled mightily in recent years, having racked up just 30 and 36 total sacks respectively in 2018 and 2019. A big-time pass rusher has been missing. Markus Golden is reliable, but nowhere near a star.
Therefore, the Giants will need to rely on a number of individuals to step up in this area of the game, including second-year player Oshane Ximines. The 2019 third-round pick proved to be a promising option during his rookie campaign, and it’ll be exciting to see what he’s able to do in 2020.
And in regards to the upcoming season, there will ultimately be a pair of potential scenarios for the young player.
The initial one we’ll discuss is the most likely and encompasses the Giants coaching staff throwing Ximines into the game on the majority of plays where blitz packages are utilized.
Ximines’ talent is definitely existent and apparent. He was able to portray it during his inaugural campaign in the pros, but not consistently enough to warrant a starting job right away in 2020.
Last year, Ximines tied for second on the team with 4.5 sacks and finished in the top 10 in total tackles for loss (5.5). There were games in which he simply disappeared though. In the losses to Arizona and Detroit, he notched zero defensive statistics. There were also numerous matchups where he recorded just one combined tackle despite receiving significant playing time.
He can bring a notable level of production to the field in specific situations, but the Giants will probably make more of an investment in guys like Golden (if he signs his tender) and Lorenzo Carter. The two aforementioned names are more experienced and fit to represent the starting defense, which will likely lead to Ximines performing in a blitz-package role alongside newly acquired veteran Kyler Fackrell, at least initially.
The second potential scenario for Ximines involves him taking over one of the starting outside linebacker spots at some point during the regular season. And if I had to choose the slated starter he’d replace, it’d be Carter.
Don’t forget, Carter wasn’t exactly impressive in what some thought would be a breakout year for him in 2019. After racking up four sacks and 43 combined tackles through 15 games (two starts) in 2018, Carter only increased his sack total by 0.5 and tackle total by two the following year. And for what it’s worth, he took part in 282 more defensive snaps last season than he did the prior campaign.
With that said, if Carter’s on-field issues remain, there’s a chance the Giants coaching staff could end up feeling better about Ximines as time progresses and ultimately throw him into the starting lineup.
In my honest opinion, I think Ximines will make for a productive pass rusher in 2020 and beyond, but the consistency needs to be implemented. There were too many matchups last year in which he didn’t stand out at all on the stat sheet. If that continues this upcoming season, the Giants’ confidence in him will surely deplete.
Expect Ximines to initially find time in pass-rushing scenarios and on special teams this year. The rate of constant success in those two areas of the game will decide his fate, as he must prove to this team he’s capable of producing week in and week out.